For many centuries, a cultural and historic treasure lay hidden amid the dense jungles of Cambodia, Angkor Wat. This huge temple site was once completely surrounded by water-filled ditches that protected the sanctuary from the noise of the once busy city of Angkor.
To date, 1,700 artistic reliefs have been counted in Angkor Wat. Most of them contain religious illustrations derived from Indian mythology. Interestingly, the historic figure of the god-like king, Suryavarman The Second appears to combine with the Hindu god, Vishnu.
Khmer culture was strongly influenced by numerous Indian tribes and peoples who had immigrated to Cambodia in the first millennium. Liberation from the long domination of the Chinese-influenced Funan Empire made the Khmer stronger and created their first period of prosperity.
The remarkable monuments of Angkor Wat, along with the amazing cultural heritage of Cambodia, were discovered in 1850 by a Frenchman, Bouillevaux. Based on his sensational discovery, archaeologists have been able to shed further light on this remarkable location. This has led to even greater knowledge of both the legendary mythological images and inhabitants of the Khmer epoch.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.